This notation is not exhaustive but is sufficient for the purposes of this Web site. For a more detailed treatise, the reader is referred to Lionel Bacon's book.
|AMR||Advance Meet & Retire|
|CO||Cross Over 'belly to belly'|
|DP||Dance in Position|
|OY||Once to Yourself|
|RTB||Right Toe Behind (or Fore Capers)|
|sj||Step & Jump|
|ssc||Side-Step - closed|
|sso||Side-Step - open|
Glossary of Terms
Essentially, these are leaps into the air, coupled with nifty footwork. Can be Plain Capers (PC), Upright Capers (UC), Fore Capers (or RTB - right toe behind), Forry Capers (FC) and Half Capers (HC)
Dance in which opposite corners of a set dance sequentially in pairs.
One of the basic dance steps in Morris in which the dancer changes feet in the following sequence: rlrr, lrll (r - right foot; l - left foot); the ds is known as the Morris step. Note: the sequences described may begin on different feet, for right-foot and left-foot start traditions.
Various set patterns traced out during the performance.
Key performer who attempts to test the mettle of the Set through dancing in a confrontational manner. Occasionally admonishes a poor performer. Other roles include procuring fair maidens for circle dances. Traditionally the best dancer of a Side.
Move up to the music (FU) and then back. Move down from the music (FD) and then back to place.
Position in The Side with responsibility for dance tuition and maintaining the quality of performances.
Forry Capers (FC)
A leaping caper with a quick alternate foot shuffle. The Forry Caper is either R l r (R = jumping foot, arms up; l r = falling to balance; in other words, a right foot caper with a leftright shuffle) - such as in the Adderbury tradition - or L r l - such as in the Bampton tradition.
A characteristic feature of Fieldtown, used to assist the dancer in making 90°, 180° and 270° turns during the dance. The knee is kept parallel with the ground, as 2 circular movements are made with relaxed foot whilst hopping on supporting foot.
Dance in which the performers user two handkerchiefs to trace patterns in the air. It was thought that 16thC Morris dancers created a similar effect with the long sleeves of their costumes, and that the need for the handkerchiefs as an alternative came about when dress style changed. The patterns traced have been described as phallic in appearance (see Adderbury tradition for details). It has also been recently suggested that these actions have the additional benefit of wafting male pheromones in the direction of comely ladies!!!
A dance figure in which the performers usually trace out a Figure of Eight. Where these are mirror images (see diagram), it is known as a Morris Hey. There are subtle variations between traditions (re: Adderbury, Lichfield and Bampton traditions). Can be a Whole Hey (WH), or Half Hey (HH).
High-kicking backwards foot movement in which the legs are swung sideways out and attempt to kick the 'behind'.
There is historical evidence to suggest that Morris dancing in England has its beginnings principally during the
reign of Henry VII. The dance known as Moorish or Moresque dancing was known in the courts of Europe from
the 12thC and was associated with the Moorish rule over Spain and Portugal from 711 to 1492 AD. Whilst some texts suggest that the origin of these dances may be older and associated with fertility rituals, there is currently no evidence to support this.
Archivist, a keeper of The Sides records.
Group of usually 6, sometimes 8, dancers participating in a performance.
Most difficult step described as 'wriggling your feet back'; is used in jigs. See Bledington tradition for more detail.
One of the basic dance steps in Morris in which the dancer changes feet in the following sequence: rrll, rrll (r - right foot; l - left foot). Note: the sequences described may begin on different feet, for right-foot and left-foot start traditions.
Senior position within The Side. The leader.
Stepping - basic
The basic dance steps in Morris are either the double-step (ds) or the single-step (ss). In the ds the dancer changes feet in the following sequence: rlrr, lrll (r - right foot; l - left foot); the ds is known as the Morris step. The sequence for ss is rrll, rrll. Note: the sequences described may begin on different feet, for right-foot and left-foot start traditions.
Dance in which the performers use a stick. There is evidence to suggest that stick dances were a later addition to the Morris, appearing late 18thC as a derivation of sword dances. There is no hard evidence to suggest that it is phallic; it is merely wishful thinking. In some dances it has taken on an agricultural significance (re. a dibber in Bean Setting dances).
Keeper of the sticks.
Dances that characterise a region.
A popular Morris dance/tune; the word is probably derived from the Trinkalos Reel described by Shakespeare.
Whole Rounds (WR)
Dance clockwise back to start position. The left hand figure shows the positioning necessary to form the circle. In Fieldtown, no sooner than the circle is formed, than the dancers tuck-in to the centre (right hand figure).